What to pack for your first cruise

If you're soon to be off on that first cruising holiday, you're likely to be feeling a lot of things. Excitement for one – it's a thrilling adventure to experience, exploring the coastline of your chosen country and really making the most of the culture. But as it's your first time, you may also be wondering what to expect and how to prepare for the challenges of life on the waves.

Of course, there's no need to worry – cruising is an enjoyable and safe pastime with millions of people embarking on this type of holiday every year. You're certain to enjoy yourself. But, as with any trip, it's worth having a checklist handy of everything you need. With this list, we hope to inspire your preparation skills.

Essentials first

There are three things without which your holiday is likely to be severely hampered to the point it cannot proceed – your passport, tickets and money. As long as you have these things secured, your trip is likely to go ahead. For that essential travel documentation, it's worth checking out the expiry dates of everyone involved at least two (most say six I think) months in advance – longer if you're going in peak season – as there are certainly faster organisations out there than the UK passport office.

Bear in mind that there are some countries that require you to have documentation that is valid for a period of time after your planned return date. Sometimes this can be up to six months.

Consider your country

Always consider your chosen destination and remember to check the appropriate Seafarer information page for information on what the weather is going to be like. Most of our destinations are warm and sunny so pack with that in mind, but it's worth checking the handy information page depending on the time of year.

Consider the cruise

Remember that our cruises are casual and informal. If you want to feel a bit smarter during the evenings, that's up to you, but leave that tuxedo at home!

Pack light

If there's one thing you don't want to be doing, it's manhandling a lot of baggage through two airports, onto a coach and then finally onto your ship, only to have to do the same for your return journey. It's not necessary to pack an extraordinary amount of clothing for one of our cruises, but if the weather looks like it might be unpredictable, opt for a layered look with a couple of sweaters and jumpers. Remember, conditions at sea may be different to on land, and you may feel a bit of a chill if it's windy in the evenings. In the majority of our destinations though, it's shorts and T-shirts all the way, particularly during the day. Keep things light by packing shoes and clothes that can serve multiple purposes or go with multiple outfits.

Swimwear

Particularly with Seafarer, you'll want to make sure you've packed the necessary swimwear, be it swimshorts, swimsuit, speedos or bikini. This is so that you can make use of the frequent stops in picturesque bays and stunning coves on our trips, where you can hop off for a dip anytime you like in the surrounding crystal clear waters. Snorkelling and other watersports gear is also available on selected cruises.

Protect yourself

If you're going somewhere warm, such as one of our exotic destinations in the Indian Ocean, it's important to protect yourself from the sun. Cream is a necessity and it's important to opt for a high enough factor. It may also be worth packing a hat to keep your ears safe.

While many of these tips may appear to be common sense, it's easy to get swept up in the heat of the moment when you're planning your trip to Italy, Greece or anywhere else. Always leave enough time to pack. And remember – this should be a fun part of the trip too! Nothing beats the anticipation of a good cruise.